When I saw Gertrude Wan Patane's dish, I immediately jumped at the idea of using pumpkins. Her Roasted Maple and Bacon Butternut Squash looked like something that would be great to serve during a dinner party. And that was exactly what I did recently.
The fact that it has bacon in it really got me going :) One ingredient in this dish which I have heard of but never tasted before is maple syrup. I have been curious about maple syrup and wondered what is so special about this iconic Canadian product.
So when I saw a bottle of organic maple syrup at Aeon (it cost me a princely RM34.90 for a 236ml bottle, ouch!) I put it into my basket without a second thought. When I got home, I decided to have a taste. I find the syrup quite runny and of course it was sweet. But I did not find anything significant about it's taste but then again maybe my palate is not sophisticated enough. From what I read, maple syrup contains fewer calories and a higher concentration of minerals than honey. You can read more about the health benefits here.
I also bought another wedge of pumpkin to add to the one that has been in my fridge for two weeks. Back home I cleaned the pumpkins making sure I washed the skin thoroughly as I wasn't going to sweat peeling the skin. I cut the pumpkins into cubes. I also cut a Bombay onions into cubes and tossed the onions and pumpkin cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I spread this mixture onto a lined baking tray and baked at 180C.
Meanwhile, I cut 6 strips of streaky bacon into cubes and fried them till brown and crispy. The smell was really good. I removed the crispy bacon and drained them on paper towels. I did not throw away the bacon drippings but instead, drizzled the oil onto the pumpkins for added flavor.
After that, I mixed maple syrup, cinnamon powder and Hungarian paprika (because I did not have cayenne pepper). The taste at that point was not remarkable. When the pumpkins were almost done, I drizzled the mixture onto the pumpkins and tossed them to combine. I continued to roast the pumpkins until they were tender and browned around the edges.
When the pumpkins were done, I tossed in the bacon and some chopped parsley and gave it a good mix. And that's it. Just dish out into a serving dish and I warmed it up just before serving. I had to rely on my mum's feedback because my tastebuds go numb when I am cooking for a dinner party. Mum said that it was good and the dish was very well received.
Many thanks, Gertrude for this lovely recipe! I am reproducing the recipe here in my own words for future reference (yes! going to cook it again) and please visit Gertrude for the original recipe. If you don't have maple syrup, I reckon honey would be a good substitute. It was about a week later that I had another taste of the maple syrup. Ah! This time it registered. I love it but alas I can't describe it :)
********************************************I will be on a break next week and will update my posts again when I am back. See ya!
Roasted Maple and Bacon Pumpkin
Recipe source : Adapted from My Kitchen Snippets
- 1.2kg pumpkin, cut into cubes (I left the skin on out of pure laziness)
- 1 big Bombay onion, cut into cubes
- 5 tablespoons olive oil or enough to coat pumpkin and onions
- 3 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
- 1/2 tsp Hungarian paprika
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- salt and black pepper to taste
- a handlful of parsley, chopped
- 6 strips of bacon, cut into cubes and fried till crispy
1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. In a mixing bowl add pumpkin, onions, salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss to coat evenly.
3. Pour the mixture onto a lined baking tray and bake for 45-50 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, mix maple syrup, paprika and cinnamon powder.
5. When the pumpkin is almost tender, drizzle the syrup mixture and toss to coat. Continue to bake until pumpkin is tender and brown around the edges.
6. Remove the baking tray from the oven and sprinkle the crispy bacon and parsley. Toss to coat and serve immediately or if serving later, warm up before serving.
Note : If you like, drizzle the bacon drippings onto the pumpkin before baking.